Education: Priorities and a Plan

If you were given charge of designing an educational system, how would you go about doing it? What would it be in an ideal situation? What are the factors that will be detractors from the ideal situation? What will be the priorities ? How will you ensure quality? So I let my imagination take off into a new world, a world that is shaped by my experiences.

The educational system that I envision will involve both aspects of learning, learning for earning and learning for living. To enable this, the system will include professionals, who we call as teachers today, as well as mentors. These mentors will be teaching social and life skills.

In an ideal situation, would like to see all of the children in a given community, irrespective of their socioeconomic background, be able to attend the same school. Would like to have an extended school and support for the students whose parents do not have the time or the background to teach and coach their kids. While this may be ideal, the major detractor will be the free market driven system of individual’s choice. The next detractor is that of the widening gap between the rich and poor. Combination of the freedom of choice and the widening of the gap feeds on itself and leads to a polarized society. Sooner or later, the Society, Government and other Institutions will have to come to the realization that such a polarized society will unsustainable and thus start acting.

In terms of priorities, they can be across many categories — a) Geographic b) Subjects/Curriculum c) Economic and Social etc. Geographic priorities will include larger level of funding for non-urban areas and socially deprived urban areas, to help motivate the relocation of great teachers and mentors. In the case of subjects and curriculum, will include the academic and vocational aspects. In the case of economic vs social, will ensure that both aspects are balanced.

Now how do we ensure quality? With the extent of globalization that is happening, the difference in expectations from students are starting to blend and become uniform. With this set as guidelines, would like to set up a local school council. This council could include the local administrators, teachers, parents, community leaders. And the council will review the class of entering students’s capabilities and their capabilities after they have gone through the school year.